Posts in: 2004s

I have been trying for many years to move away from writing out of anger or turmoil, from a place of psychological upheaval and trauma. To compose in this way, you fall into the stereotype of the frenzied writer “exorcising demons,” Mozart in his middle years, music erupting from him in a dirty flow, fueled by fear, dread, howling voices.

I find this sort of composition exhausting over time, both as a composer and as an observer. It is also destructive, leading a person over time to think that art can be generated only through crisis and stress — you could grow numb both to pain and to beauty.

Dead Heat

I don’t buy it. I don’t believe that the polls are correct about the neck-and-neck nature of the presidential race. Rather, I think we’re in the grip of the massive collective idea that we are a divided nation, evenly divided, perfectly divided, poised. How elegant, beautiful. This idea is too overpowering, too alluring, for anyone to imagine anything else, or want to imagine anything else, since nothing could be easier. We can simply say, “we are a divided nation.

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Jewels and Binoculars

I don’t think poetry is necessarily after clarity, and I certainly never expect accuracy. I prefer a little slack between language and meaning, like the slack we find between language and the world itself. Speech remains supple through constant blurring of the boundaries of received definitions. A word means this today then, maybe, a shade of that tomorrow. The cognates branch and fan out, and dialects accrete like silt over the bedrock.

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Empty the room to see the room.
Strain against voice to discover voice.